The Apple, the Facebook, and the IDFA

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Apple has made some changes lately that has rattled the Digital Marketing industry, and the news ranges from the sky is falling to Apple is protecting user privacy.

But what did Apple do? Will it effect you? How has digital advertising changed after the policy came into effect?

It’s been something that has not only been confusing to the public but has been confusing the marketing industry as well.

I thought it might be helpful to clear this up a bit, so let’s start at the beginning with what Apple has done and how this decision is effecting the industry as a whole.

Apple developed a tracking technology for all their phones and tablets called Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), which tracks users using a web beacon technique of assigning a unique identifying number so that user information can be tracked across a variety of applications.

In Apple’s iOS 10, they provided a setting that would allow the user to disable this feature, and 20% of users went through their settings and did just that.

With the release of Apple’s OS 14.5, on September 20, 2021, users are prompted with a box that asks if the user would like to share their information across applications to which 96% of users are saying no.

Apple announced that any application found sharing user data without using this box to opt in will be deleted from the play store. Their policy also says that applications can’t ask users to opt in, so they can be used or to access special features.

It’s too early to tell what long term effects this decision will have; but in the short term, Facebook and Snap, who both rely on advertising platforms, have seen their revenue decrease. Apple dominates the mobile market, so these changes will effect large numbers of Facebook’s user base, but not all of them. Facebook says that this will be terrible for small business and a lot of other things that sound like the sky is falling.

It’s unclear how this will effect businesses that use their advertising platforms or how this will effect Facebook and Snap long term. Facebook has stated that this will limit their ability to target ads to consumers, which it will do in the short term by preventing applications from communicating with each other. This is true, but they can still target users within their own application, perhaps using AI to develop algorithms to target their expansive user base.

Small Business’s have many options besides Facebook’s advertising platform to generate leads. Consumer demand will not change, and there are a variety of options for a business looking to generate sales leads on the internet that are not limited by Apple’s policy.

Privacy advocates and users are siding with Apple. Apple created IDFA, so it will be interesting to see what Apple does with the service moving forward.

For more information, there is a great article by CNBC

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/20/apple-ios-14point5-release-date-with-att-idfa-restrictions-confirmed-for-next-week.html